Jason Bateman’s 54 Most Michael Bluth Moments for His 54th Birthday
Even though he is almost certainly not reading this, we’d like to wish a very happy birthday to Jason Bateman! Of course, Bateman’s most famous non-lycanthropic role is the perpetually beleaguered Michael Bluth from Arrested Development. And so, for his 54th birthday, we'd like to rundown 54 of his Bluthiest moments over the years.
Keep in mind, these aren’t all from Arrested Development — Bateman has been dryly funny, quippy and awkward with women in lots of movies and TV shows because that just seems to be his jam…
‘You Can’t Do That on the Balcony, Buddy?’
Bateman established Michael’s vibe pretty immediately, and there’s no better example of that than his delivery of this line in the pilot of Arrested Development when Buster’s drumming interrupts his big speech.
‘Let’s Just All Put Our Tops Down’
Michael is forced to contend with both Kitty and Tobias, as they request that he say goodbye to these…
‘It’ll Look Worse; Go That Way’
Michael tries to cling to a shred of dignity after it slowly dawns on him that the song “Afternoon Delight” isn’t a wholesome tune appropriate for a karaoke duet with his niece. This is a Christmas episode, by the way.
‘It’s a Bullet, Not a Grapefruit’
Bateman sure brought the Michael Bluth energy to Game Night — like in the scene where he gets shot and has to contend with his wife’s attempts to extract the bullet using directions from an alt-right militia’s website.
‘Who Knew You Were Such a Good Little Climber?’
An exasperated Michael praises Maeby’s tenacity as she repeatedly tries to escape a trip to the office.
‘Can You Put This on My Mother’s Card?’
After his own credit card is rejected in front of Sally Sitwell (thanks to his dad’s hot tub purchase), an embarrassed Michael asks his waiter if he can charge it to Lucille.
Although he may be the sharpest member of the Bluth family, sometimes Michael is totally clueless — like when he fails to notice that Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character Maggie is blind (although it turns out she’s faking it anyway).
‘Has Anyone in This Family Ever Even Seen a Chicken?‘
A deadpan Michael aptly critiques his family’s varied, wildly inaccurate chicken dances.
‘Is That Sharpie?’
In Horrible Bosses, Bateman again contends with several frustrating dummies — in this case, their criminal activities get off to an inauspicious start thanks to a Sharpie and a whiteboard.
‘I Feel Like I Wanna Die Right Now’
And later, when his Horrible Bosses character tries cocaine, he very serenely loses his shit.
‘Santa Claus Is Dead’
Bateman showed up in the recent Murderville Christmas special and somehow delivered, with a straight face, the line: “Santa Claus is dead.”
Also, in Murderville, Will Arnett’s Detective Terry Seattle discovers that the murder weapon is a candy cane, remarking that the killer must like mint. “And licking,” adds Bateman perfectly.
Bateman co-hosted the 1989 Ice Capades along with Alyssa Milano. In a very Bluth-like moment, he playfully forgot the names of two of the performers.
‘There Was a Virus‘
Later in the same Ice Capades presentation, Bateman introduces Milano to the concept of a so-called “video game.” When he loses at Super Mario Bros., he blames it on malicious software. Oh, 1989 Jason Bateman.
‘That Was a Very Competitive Category‘
Buster wins the “Saddest” award at Motherboy – Michael has the perfect response.
‘ Oh My God, This Guy’s Arm!’
“…just came off and landed on the dock.” Michael learns why you should never try to teach your son a lesson.
‘ Pick One’
Michael tells Tobias that he’s not interested in him in “that way.” When Tobias asks, “What way?” He flatly says, “Pick one.”
Michael’s reaction to George Michael’s interest in Ann is just one word — and it became one of the show’s most enduring long-running jokes.
‘ I Don’t Feel So Good’
Speaking of Ann, Michael becomes nauseated at her dietary choices…
‘ Two Exits to Legoland’
…which may explain why he abandons her in Mexico. Michael being Michael, he tries to turn her rescue into a fun road trip — as long as they can reach her before dark.
‘ She’s the Belle of the Ball!’
He also refers to Ann as “Annabelle” for less than kind reasons, trying to save face with George Michael by declaring Ann “the belle of the ball!”
‘It’s Not as Tough as It Looks’
Even his early role in Teen Wolf Too: The One Without Michael J. Fox had some very Bluthian moments, such as when he awkwardly shuffles out of the school office after nearly going full Wolfman on the administrator.
‘I’ve Been Dancing with a Dog’
Later in Teen Wolf Too, he gets, shall we say, excited at a school dance and turns into a werewolf, which thankfully never happened in front of Sally Sitwell.
‘I’ve Done a Lot of Movies on My VCR’
Even before that, a pint-sized Bateman appeared on the game show Body Language and chatted about his lack of a film career.
‘ Calling It Pop-Pop’
Michael inadvertently comes up with a new synonym for “making love.”
‘ There’s Gotta Be a Better Way to Say That’
Michael takes issue with some of Tobias’ phrasing…
‘ He Said Some Wonderful Things’
And he lies to Lindsay about Tobias’ final words before being hit by a car.
‘ Then I Shall Let You Live…’
Michael hits on Rita and starts rambling on about Jack the Ripper. A masterclass in how not to talk to women.
‘ Are You Wearing My Dead Wife’s Maternity Clothes?’
Michael reacts to his dad’s new wardrobe…
‘ What an Awful Thing to Say’
Michael can't believe that Ann's mother looks like Ione Skye, and doesn’t think anyone should say that they could be sisters.
‘ We’re Not Making Love’
He also refutes her bizarre definition of “making love.”
‘That’s Not a Volvo’
Lindsay sits on the photocopier while shopping for a car…
‘ I Don’t Know What I Expected’
Michael finds a paper bag marked “DEAD DOVE Do Not Eat!” and peeks inside for some reason.
‘ The Cabin. Yes, That Would Be Difficult Too’
Michael suggests that his mom take a date up to Tahoe, but she doesn’t think she'll find anyone “willing to go in that musty old claptrap.”
‘ Guy Has No Idea What He’s in For’
Speaking of gross double-entendres involving Michael and his mother…
‘ I Was Going to Say Breakfast’
A callback to the pilot, Michael teaches George Michael about the most important thing in life — it is no longer “family.”
‘ Buy Yourself a Tape Recorder’
Michael offers Tobias some practical life advice…
‘ You’re Going to Be Filling Like Three Openings’
Michael inadvertently hires a sex worker for the office, and in a meta-layer of awkwardness, she’s played by Jason Bateman’s sister Justine Bateman.
‘ Marry Me!’
And when she doesn’t steal all their money, he borrows Maeby’s famous line.
‘How Can You Even Sit Down?’
In Mike Judge’s Extract, Bateman hires a pool cleaner to pleasure his wife so he can freely have an affair – but finds out that the guy went above and beyond.
‘I Don’t Wear This Everyday’
Bateman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, spending most of the time complaining that he wasn’t named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.
‘ He’s a Very Literal Man’
Michael succinctly sums up the Bluth’s problems with that one doctor.
‘ This Must Be a Freebie Because I’m Having a Ball’
Michael nearly blows his arrangement with no-nonsense lawyer Wayne Jarvis by making a pseudo-joke.
‘ I Have No Follow-Up’
After a date with his family’s publicist, she storms out, and he calls out her name — but somehow, that makes things more uncomfortable.
‘ That Time I Was Going to Say Sandwiches’
Michael and Lindsay’s twin synergy game isn’t exactly flawless (to be fair, they’re not really twins, it turns out).
‘A Radioactive Crab Bit Me in the Genitals’
In the superhero comedy Thunder Force, we get a taste of what Michael Bluth might have been like if he had mutant crab arms.
‘These Corporations… I Don’t Know What They’re Doing’
Jesse Plemons’ Game Night neighbor, who questions the profitability of the Frito-Lay company, easily could have been an Arrested Development character.
‘You Drive Safe’
And Bateman’s Game Night character’s reaction to a legit kidnapping, which he thinks is all fake, is pretty much exactly what Michael Bluth would have done.
‘Are You Still Breastfeeding?’
During a promotional video for Juno, Bateman questions his TV son, Michael Cera, about sex education.
‘You Know Ny Name’s Jason’
On his first Saturday Night Live monologue, Amy Poehler keeps calling him “Bateman” because she doesn’t want to accidentally call him “Justine.”
‘Who Else Has Had the Vaccine Already?’
When he came back to SNL in the winter of 2020, Bateman claimed that he’d gotten the (then ultra-scarce) vaccine.
‘ That’s a Cross’
This is less about the line reading and more about the way Michael casually shuts the door in Maeby’s face.
‘ Maritime Law’
Michael lies about his past legal experience, which consisted only of prosecuting Captain Hook in a school play.
‘It’s a Transformer’
Even the dramatic Ozark has some Michael Bluth-esque lines — such as when Bateman’s therapist, Sue, shows up in her yellow sports car, paid for with bribe money.
‘Ow J$*#! Stupid Cornballing Piece of – $%*!’
Michael’s attempt to bond with his son using the hazardous scar factory known as the cornballer is one of the high points of Arrested Development (that sadly was never brought back for Ozark).
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